Boy Scouts host chess tourney for backcountry hiking trip
by Matt Shinall
Feb 19, 2013 | 1421 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In preparation for nearly two weeks of backcountry hiking in the high country of New Mexico, Boy Scouts of Troop 15 are planning a community-wide chess tournament to raise funds for the trip.

Friday night, the scouts will host chess players of all ages and skill level in the Easy as Pie Chess Tournament. Players will be divided into skill levels and matched with other players according to age and experience. Although the tournament is informal and relaxed, winners of each division will go home with a chess pie.

Assistant Scout Master David Matherne is helping organize the event. His son, William Matherne, came up with the idea for a chess tournament after years of playing the game. Although William has participated in a number of tournaments, none were ever held in Cartersville — something he hopes to change.

“This is something my son has wanted to do for a long time,” David Matherne said. “He has always dreamed of having a chess tournament in Cartersville. He learned to play chess in the Cub Scouts actually for a belt loop and that led to a fascination with chess and playing in some tournaments.

“We’re encouraging all ages and abilities and we’ll match folks up according to age and ability. We want everyone to focus on having fun. We’ve been to a few tournaments and they can be high-pressure events, but this one will just be for fun to come out and support the scouts.”

The scouts of Troop 15 are raising funds for their trip this summer to Philmont Scout Ranch, a ranch near Cimarron, N.M., covering more than 137,000 acres in the Rocky Mountains. During their 13 days at Philmont, the scouts will cover more than 100 miles on foot in the mountainous and remote terrain.

“We’re going to accomplish a big hike for maybe 100-plus miles with backpacks, see some awesome sites and have fun,” William Matherne said. “But we needed a fundraiser for Philmont, so I wanted to do something big and I just have a love for chess.”

William put together two of his favorite activities and decided that to help pay the way to Philmont, he would host a chess tournament. Entry to Friday’s chess tournament is $12 and a spaghetti dinner will be provided. Registration runs from 5:30 to 6 p.m. with first round play beginning at 6:30 p.m. Rounds two and three will begin at 7:30 and 8:30 p.m., respectively.

“This is an unrated tournament, so if people have played enough to have a rating and they know their rating you can match people up according to their rating level, but we’re just going to have a simple one through five rating,” David Matherne said. “Level one will be for beginners wanting to practice playing chess. Level two will be more than beginner and maybe even know an opening or two. Level three will be pretty good players who know several openings. Level four, may used to have been rated, maybe a little rusty — might kind of have an idea what their rating was — and then level five is rated players who know their rating and have played in several tournaments.”

The Easy as Pie Chess Tournament will follow the Swiss format with 60-minute rounds with no elimination — each player will play all three rounds. Players that have their own boards, chess pieces and clocks are encouraged to bring them.

Friday’s tournament will be held at the Trinity United Methodist Church Family Life Center, 814 West Ave. For more information, email William Matherne at

Troop 15 meets every Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Trinity UMC Family Life Center.